Overconfident?

Heading into Wednesday night's SEC home opener against visiting Georgia, Tennessee's Basketball Vols need to forget AND remember.

They need to forget about last Sunday's huge win at South Carolina and remember what got them 10 victories in their first 11 games … hustle, focus and determination. Otherwise, they could come out flat and suffer a humbling home-floor defeat.

Although Tennessee's confidence level is on the rise, junior center Major Wingate believes the Vols will never get TOO confident as long as Bruce Pearl is running the show.

"With Coach, it's hard because sometimes – no matter what – it's not good enough," Wingate said recently, flashing a pained grin. "But at the same time we can tell he's proud of what we do because we come in every day trying to get better, and that's all he asks us to do."

Junior forward Dane Bradshaw also believes the Vols will have the South Carolina game out of their minds in time for Wednesday's 7:30 tip-off.

"We WILL get it behind us," he said. "It was a huge win on the road but we can negate that by losing to Georgia at home. We have to hold serve at home and take care of that."

Pearl concedes that the victory at Columbia was significant but says the Vols need all of their focus on the Bulldogs now.

"There's no time to rest," he said. "There's not a lot of time to reflect on where we are right now with Georgia coming up."

Tennessee (10-1 overall, 1-0 SEC) has won several games by out-hustling its opponents. Out-hustling the Bulldogs (10-4, 0-1) may be impossible, though.

"I think Georgia plays as hard as anybody in the league," Pearl said. "They will match our intensity, and then some. They really get after you."

Since Georgia is sure to play hard, the Vols had better reciprocate. If they're still savoring the win at Columbia, they'll be ripe for an upset. Pearl hopes his players are too focused to become complacent.

"It's a basketball team that is mature and experienced," he said. "They've handled success well so far."

The 10-1 record suggests as much. Although Pearl admits that the Vols' start is "clearly better" than he anticipated, he says there is no time to gloat.

"I'd like to think we've done what we're supposed to have done to this point," he said. "But there's so much to be done that there really is no time for reflection."


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